B2B marketers who adopt inbound marketing tactics can outsmart their competition while increasing brand awareness, brand preference and leads.
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by prospects. This sense is related to relationship marketing and Seth Godin's idea of permission marketing. David Meerman Scott recommends that marketers "earn their way in" (via publishing helpful information on a blog etc.) in contrast to outbound marketing where they used to have to "buy, beg, or bug their way in" (via paid advertisements, issuing press releases in the hope they get picked up by the trade press, or paying commissioned sales people, respectively).WIKIPEDIAIn “The CMO Guide to Inbound Marketing,” Marketo CEO Jon Miller compares and contrasts inbound and outbound marketing with the military analogies of air war and ground war:
"...inbound marketing is like an 'air war' – it allows you to be very efficient by carpet-bombing broad areas, but it makes it hard to hit specific targets. In contrast, you need 'ground war' tactics (think marines and snipers) to target specific objectives and hold territory."
Not long ago, information about companies and their solutions was not readily available (online or offline). As a result, prospective buyers were forced to engage with a sales person early in the buying cycle.
Miller refers to that time as the "information scarcity" era of traditional marketing tactics (e.g. cold calls, direct mail, trade publication advertising, trade shows, etc). However, in today's "information abundance" era, prospects can forgo contact with sales people and obtain nearly all of their buying information on their own. And, the prospective customer can tune out unwanted, "interruptive" marketing messages.
Consequently, traditional outbound marketing tactics are less effective. Therefore, B2B marketers are beginning to adopt methods that don't rely on interrupting prospects with unwanted marketing messages. Instead, marketers are attempting to connect with buyers when they are most open and engaged. This is the basis of inbound marketing.
Marketo's Miller defines inbound marketing this way:
"The process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue."
Inbound marketing tactics are based largely on a content marketing strategy of providing extremely useful (or entertaining) information (i.e. content) that your prospective buyers will find valuable. Content marketing examples include non-promotional materials such as blogs, newsletters, whitepapers, podcasts and infographics.
Click here to download "The CMO Guide to Inbound Marketing" or view the SlideShare presentation below.